Orwells has a focus on great coffee (Byron Bay’s Marvell Street roasters), and a menu big on wholegrains, house-made yoghurts, ferments and pickled things.
The offering is heavily influenced by owener Laurie Holmes’s interest in eating well and with purpose, and Gut, the bestselling book on gut health by German doctor Giulia Enders.
Holmes and head chef Julia Le Gouic, a former pastry chef at Bentley Restaurant and Bar and Public Dining Room), is deep into the world of prebiotics, probiotics and SCOBYs (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – the starter culture of kombucha).
An avocado and beetroot toast is boosted with beetroot labneh; the eggs on toast comes with fuschia-hued kraut; and the kim-cheese toastie features the Orwells version of of vegan kimchi pickle, made without fish sauce or shrimp. The dishes are colourful and predominantly vegetarian-friendly.
There’s an ever-changing roster of black- and green-tea kombucha flavours, made with Balmain’s Tippity Tea. And water kefir, which is like a fermented soda water that is sweeter, just as bubbly, but far less acidic and much more approachable than kombucha.
In any given week, it’s common for Holmes to brew up to five different flavours of each fermented beverage. There might be ginger and turmeric kombucha, or strawberry, fennel and lime water kefir.
The kitchen prepares its house-made ingredients in small batches to minimise waste, and food scraps and a portion of its used coffee beans are sent to the nearby Wayside Chapel to be turned into compost for its rooftop community garden.